Call It A Gift Then!! (Or, Y’know… Let’s Talk BRIEFLY About Avengers: Infinity War!!)

Avengers Infinity War masthead

Wow!!

I mean… we knew it was going to be good.

But WOW!!

So, I have some thoughts. I might ramble a bit, but I want to get this column out so we’re free and clear for some Clix coverage in the immediate future!

[SPOILERS WILL FOLLOW!! BUT IF YOU READ THIS BLOG AND HAVEN’T SEEN THIS MOVIE YET, YOU MUST BE A UNICORN… ]

I wrote before about what the trailer for this movie meant to me (check that piece out here), and now that I’ve seen the whole film, I can say it did not disappoint in any way.

Did it have elements of Thanos Quest? Yep. Did it have characters from Hickman’s Infinity event from a few years ago? Sure.

But make no mistake: This was an adaptation of Infinity Gauntlet (or the first part of Infinity Gauntlet, at least), one of the crown jewels from Marvel’s brilliant history. And it’s something that would have been ABSOLUTELY INCONCEIVABLE just ten years ago.

Some of the Highlights:

Josh Brolin as Thanos: Absolutely delivered one of the best performances of his career. A lot of folks have been talking about Thanos as perhaps the best mo-cap movie character ever created, as if he’s only the result of technological breakthroughs. That’s certainly true, but Brolin truly became this character even though we never seen him physically onscreen.

The creators (specifically the writers and directors) said this would be Thanos’s story, and they were not lying. And a lot of that hangs on Josh Brolin’s shoulders;

Chris Hemsworth as Thor: This character has gone from the forgotten MCU Avenger to everyone’s favorite overnight. No one really missed him in Civil War; Ragnarok seemed like just an obligatory, almost contractual entry on Marvel’s calendar. Then we actually saw the damn thing, and it was terrific.

In some ways, about a third of Infinity War is basically a sequel to Ragnarok. And it was one of the best parts of the movie. Hemsworth has finally found a groove with Thor; on one hand, I’d understand if he decides he’s done with the grind of portraying a superhero; on the other hand… he’s doing his best work right now! Drama! Comedy! Action! Adventure! Thor has become an amazing character, and I really hope he sticks around.

Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange: Wow! Doctor Strange has come a long way. More than even in his own movie, this is the Doctor Strange that I remember from the comics!

Some of the Lowlights: 

–Really, not much. Some folks have brought up some minor pacing issues; others didn’t like Star-Lord screwing up the plan. But I didn’t notice anything that took me out of the movie.

No, the only thing I would’ve hoped for was actually some more screen time for Proxima Midnight and Corvus Glaive. The weapons are cool; their backstory is even cooler. In the comics, Corvus Glaive is actually more of an orator about Thanos than Ebony Maw ever was.

It’s a minor quibble, but not having more of Proxima or Corvus robbed us of two things:

First, if we’d spent a little more time with them, they wouldn’t have felt just like cannon fodder during that final battle in Wakanda.

Secondly, Corvus Glaive has one of the best death scenes in comics when he takes on Hyperion in Infinity.

Corvus Death 1

Corvus Glaive Part 2

Even if they had given this sequence to, say, Iron Man dispatching Ebony Maw, this was one great exchange from the comics that I missed in the film.

How Did They Even Make This Movie Without the Silver Surfer Or, Y’know, Adam Warlock… WHO WAS THE MAIN CHARACTER IN THE ORIGINAL COMIC?

–By dividing up their parts among some of the other characters.

Let’s start with the Surfer. His main purpose in Infinity Gauntlet was three-fold.

First, Surfer is extremely powerful, so when Thanos quite easily dispatches him, that tells the audience that Thanos is a badass who is going to be hell to deal with. Then, Surfer is hurtled towards Earth from space to warn the rest of the Marvel heroes that Thanos. Is. Coming! Finally, Surfer was one of the key heavy-hitting combatants that confronts Thanos at the very end of the story.

Hmmm… pretty much every one of those plot points was given to the Hulk in Infinity War. I was actually surprised at how easily the writers were able to slide Hulk into that role.

Adam Warlock’s part was more complicated. I think they actually split his role and gave it to two different characters.

First… I think it’s pretty clear that most of the Soul Stone shenanigans that Warlock gets into in Infinity Gauntlet were given to Gamora (this actually isn’t too far from the comic–Gamora was with Warlock when he emerged from the Soul Stone in the beginning of the story).

I really think Gamora will find her way out of the Soul Stone eventually. She might be the only non-“snap” death that eventually gets reversed. Remember that orange-tinged scene with young Gamora and Thanos at the end of the film, when it seemed like Thanos was having some sort of vision? Yeah, I’m pretty sure that took place in the Soul Stone where Gamora–at least some part of her–still resides.

But there was one other character who got some of Warlock’s lines, I think. As it happens, he also wielded a green Infinity Gem…

Doctor Strange.

In Infinity Gauntlet, Adam Warlock devises what is essentially a long con to wrest control of the Gauntlet from Thanos (who is impossible to defeat in any sort of battle while possessing the gems). At one point, he explains part of his plan to the Silver Surfer, who is horrified to find out that Warlock is interacting with the crisis as if it is some sort of game.

A Game.png

Indeed, gathering Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to face off against Thanos was nothing more than a ploy to distract the Mad Titan, and their subsequent horrific deaths could in fact be attributed to Warlock’s seeming indifference (we find out later that Warlock had no intention of letting their deaths be permanent, but still… ).

Well, I think there’s a lot more going on in the scene between Tony Stark and Doctor Strange on Titan where Strange tells Stark that giving Thanos the Time Gem was “the only way.”

Strange knows something in that scene that we do not. I’m convinced of it! And even if it meant sacrificing half of the galaxy (albeit perhaps temporarily), Strange was willing to do that if it meant ultimate victory in the end.

 

Whew. Alright, that was a little scattered, but I just wanted to get some thoughts down on paper. I loved, loved LOVED this movie, and I hope you all did too!

Back in a few days with some more Clix coverage!

 

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But THIS… Does Put A Smile On My Face!! (Or, Let’s Talk About the Infinity War Trailer!!)

Thanos Infinity Gauntlet

[EDITOR’S NOTE: We don’t do many trailer reactions on this site, primarily because we’re mostly about gaming in general, and Heroclix specifically. Also, while some folks manage to publish genuinely entertaining reaction videos on YouTube (The Ecomog #StruggleNation guys and Emergency Awesome are some of my personal faves), most are just schlubby guys staring slightly below the camera while shouting “Wow!” and “Oh S—!!” over and over again.

But while we are assembling our Harley Quinn and the Gotham Girls Top Ten (I’ve heard some people call it “Joker’s Wild” with funner Primes and Chases, but really–no, wait, that’s pretty much it), I thought I’d break from tradition and embark on a little story time about why I wanted to talk about this particular trailer, what exactly seems to be going on with the movie’s story, and maybe even why the Colossal Thanos on the Throne of Death is the default masthead for this blog! 

So, without further ado… on with the show!]

Infinity War poster.jpg

Marvel finally dropped a trailer for Infinity War today. This is the movie I’ve been waiting for ever since I was a little kid, and one that I never thought I’d ever get in my lifetime.

I’ve lived in Michigan my whole life. Grew up just outside of Detroit. For most of my childhood my family would drive up to Lexington, Michigan at least once during every  summer month (after school had let out). Lexington was about 90 minutes away from Detroit, and my grandparents had a small cottage there near Lake Huron.

Now Lexington was (and pretty much still is) the epitome of a small, Midwestern town. It had a Main Street, a few restaurants, a General Store (where, after much petulant badgering, my grandmother would break down and buy me DuckTales stickers and baseball cards) and an indoor bazaar/flea market that, at least in my memory, was always filled to the brim with dusty, undiscovered treasures.

My father was never one to pass up a garage sale or a flea market, so whenever he would head into town, my brother and I always got up early to go with him, particularly because every time we went to that indoor market, someone would be selling… comic books.

In 1992, I was 11 years old, and while I had a general idea who Batman, Superman and Spider-Man were, I was really just discovering the broader range of comic book characters that were out there. That was also the time in my life when I had started earning my own money through delivering newspapers and mowing lawns, so it was not uncommon for me to hit the comic stands with $5, $10 or sometimes even $20 (for our younger readers, you’ll have to trust me–this seemed like a small FORTUNE to 11-year-old me!).

Now I always had to examine the covers of all the comics that were for sale, and my gosh, if I saw a cover advertising a guest appearance by another hero, well, that comic was probably going home with me (I mean, what’s better than getting TWO heroes for the price of one comic?!).

Daredevil 306

I think I still have this issue in my basement somewhere. It came out the same month as Infinity War #1, I think. And it had Daredevil AND Spider-Man!! 11-year-old me was most impressed.

Well, later on in the Summer of 1992, I saw this:

Infinity War 1

A double-sized comic that pretty much had ALL the heroes in the MCU. This blew my mind! I eagerly devoured all six issues of Infinity War; then, the following year, I did it all over again with the sequel, Infinity Crusade.

When I got a little older and I could drive myself to the local comic shop on Wednesdays after high school, I was able to track down bits and pieces of Thanos Quest and Infinity Gauntlet (but, frustratingly, never the whole thing–finding those issues, or even a TPB, became sort of my white whale. Especially because this was before eBay and Amazon).

But the ending of Infinity Gauntlet, where Adam Warlock had to sacrifice his peaceful afterlife in the Soul Gem to literally take on the responsibility of the entire universe while Thanos lost universal omnipotence but gained a mantle of inner peace stuck with me.

Infinity Gauntlet ending

I can still quote the last line of Infinity Gauntlet decades later. “Somehow I feel that, in the long run, Thanos of Titan came out ahead in this particular deal.”

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Jim Starlin does not get nearly enough credit for all the concepts and characters he introduced into the Marvel Universe. He has had a brilliant career, but he’s never mentioned in the same conversations as his contemporaries like Alan Moore and Frank Miller. Watchmen and DKR are brilliant, but Starlin did something arguably harder; he told an all-time great story that took place IN CONTINUITY. This is incredibly difficult to do. How many crossovers have come anywhere close to Infinity Gauntlet’s brilliance? Very few… And while we’re at it, when it comes to drawing Thanos, there’s Ron Lim, and then there’s everyone else. Period.]

It was such a powerful ending; I finally realized that sometimes the good guys don’t completely win, and sometimes the bad guys aren’t gonna get punished. And yet, from there, Thanos develops from a villain into more of an anti-hero who is eventually entrusted with the Reality Gem and actually helps save the universe during future Infinity catastrophes (and Keith Giffen even wrote a marvelously fun and complex Thanos 12-issue series back in 2003-2004 that continued this redemption arc in unexpected ways).

Fast forward to 2012. I can’t believe that Marvel movies that don’t have Spider-Man or an ‘X’ in the title are actually succeeding at the box office. My childhood is coming to life before my eyes. “Avengers” hits and its everything everyone wants it to be. It’s fun, it’s exciting, and nothing like it has ever been attempted at the level on which “Avengers” was executed. It’s a gigantic hit.

Also that year, I met a girl. My third date with her also happened to be my birthday. “Avengers” was our first date, and she’d been madly interrogating my friends in order to figure out what she should get me. Then, in front of a bunch of my family members who she’d only just met that night, my girlfriend handed me a gift bag. This is what was inside:

Infinity Gauntlet TPB

We were married in 2015.

Coincidentally, that was also an “Avengers” year.

I relate all this so that you know that when I hit “Play” on YouTube this morning to watch the “Avengers: Infinity War” trailer, I wasn’t just carrying 10 years of MCU movies with me; I was sitting there with memories of some of the happiest times in my life swimming around my head, waiting with giddy anticipation.

So you can probably guess that I liked it.

It could have been two minutes of a static, black screen and I would have called it “boldly understated” or something. But it wasn’t two minutes of a black screen. It was colorful; vibrant; thrilling; scary; nostalgic; bold; smart; new and surprising and familiar, all at the same time.

In two minutes and twenty-four seconds, this trailer brought together virtually every dangling thread from every Marvel movie in history. Somehow the writers have seamlessly blended the storylines of “Infinity Gauntlet” and “Infinity” (the talented Jonathan Hickman’s magnum opus from 2013) not only with each other but also woven them into the altogether different continuity of the MCU. This is such a complicated structural endeavor that it boggles the mind anyone would even attempt such a thing.

And that’s before you remember that Marvel can’t use the Fantastic Four, Galactus or the Silver Surfer (my God, Surfer was probably the fourth or fifth most important character IN Infinity Gauntlet!!) and that they are CHOOSING not to use Adam Warlock until the next Guardians of the Galaxy movie (or, at least, we assume this to be so).

[EDITOR’S NOTE: I feel like this hasn’t been discussed enough. Again, to make this clear… ADAM WARLOCK IS THE #$&^#(! PROTAGONIST OF INFINITY GAUNTLET!! This would be like a producer going up to Peter Jackson in 1997 and saying, “Look, we’re gonna give you a green light on this Lord of the Rings thing, but only if you lose those weird Hobbit characters. Especially that Frodo guy.“]

This should be an impossible task. But then you watch the trailer, and Black Panther says “Get this man a shield!” and Cap steps out of the shadows to help defend Wakanda against an Outrider invasion, and I’m about frothing at the mouth to find out the earliest date I can pre-order tickets for this movie.

It’s like Kevin Feige and the screenwriters had a workaround for everything.

WRITERS: “Uh, Infinity Gauntlet basically starts with Silver Surfer rushing to warn Earth after a run-in with Thanos and crashing into the Sanctum Sanctorum.

Surfer Crashes

FEIGE: “And?”

WRITERS: “Annnd… we can’t use Silver Surfer.”

Doc and Wong

FEIGE: “Great. So, now the Hulk will be the one to crash into the Sanctum.”

WRITERS: “Uh… he’s not even in space.”

FEIGE: “He will be.”

Hulk Sanctum

Kevin Feige is an absolute stone cold gangster. I’m convinced of this. He saw the possibility for this whole cinematic universe when all anyone else saw was B- and C-list characters with no film potential at all. That’s what I love most about the MCU. Feige and his team just plow ahead.

–Don’t have the rights to Spider-Man or the X-Men? Guess what. We’re focusing exclusively on the Avengers. And we’re gonna do that so well that Sony will be begging us to take over Spidey from them.

–Natalie Portman doesn’t want to come back for Thor 3? Great. We’re not gonna set it on Earth anyway. We’re gonna get Tessa Thompson to play a Valkyrie and it’s going to get the best reviews of any of the Thor movies. Bye Felicia.

–Our original stars are now ten years older and want gobs of money? Great. We’re gonna give it to them for now, but we’re also going to create the next generation of heroes on screen to eventually replace them. And the audience is going to f-ing love every minute of it.

I’m amazed at how many times Marvel has reinvented what a “superhero movie” can be.

For all the reasons I just described, I loved, loved LOVED this trailer, and I can’t wait to take my wife to go and see it in a theater.

Look, I haven’t even really touched on the story of “Infinity” and how it relates to this production, but this probably isn’t going to be the last time I talk about this trailer or this movie, either. But I think I’ll leave it right here for now.

Excelsior.

Simply The REST, Part 1!! (Or, With Apologies to Tina Turner… Again!!)(Or OR, the Ninth Night of Clix-Mas!!)

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Okay, lemme see if I can remember all this: Ahem! Once again (and this time, with feeling!), we are shamelessly unleashing the 12 Nights of Clix-Mas! Tonight is Night 5! If you missed The First Night of Clix-Mas, you can read what it’s all about right here! Night 2 was the nascent edition of a new holiday scenario we’ve been cooking up and can be found… here-ish! Night 3 took a brief look back at Horrorclix. Night 4 was the debut of a new feature called “Overlooked” which examined some pieces from World’s Finest that don’t see quite as much play as they seemingly should… . And Night 5 was Part 1 of a brief 3-part series that examines how Heroclix would look if there were a Core Set released every year or two… And Night 6 saw HypeFox Theory-craft his own Marvel Heroclix Core Set! Night 7 saw Ninwashui calling an audible and promising to throw his hat in the ring and finally write an article! Night 8 featured Ninwashui ACTUALLY writing an article, although, strangely, not the one he promised… ]

simply-the-rest-gif

You pulled Bizarro Aquaman?

Longtime readers may remember “Simply the Best,” our year-end best-of gimmick wherein we hand out some Oscar-like “Critters” to the best Heroclix figures and concepts of the previous year, as well as recognize the best in genre entertainment and–most especially–memes.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: As noted in the above link“Critters” is (still) the current short name for the annual “Simply the Best” awards handing out by Critical Missives. It’s creepy. We know it’s creepy. We’re working on it. We’ve accepted it.]

While we skipped last year, we hope to hand out some 2016 “Critters” next month some time (invites to the nominees are currently in the mail).

Still, it occurred to us that you can’t have the Academy Awards without holding a Golden Raspberry Ceremony. That’s right–tonight, Critical Missives is proud to present our own version of the Razzies! It’s time for…

THE CRIT MISSES!!

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Sometimes I amuse even myself. Although skeptical readers might wonder why it took us the better part of three years to realize we had the perfect name for our own Razzies. To those readers, I can only say–hey, what’s that over there?!]

Without further ado…

 

worst-chases

WORST SET OF CHASES

The Nominees:

Age of Apocalypse Chases (Uncanny X-Men)

Bizarro Chases (Joker’s Wild)

First Marvel or DC Movie Set With No Chases (Batman V Superman)

AND THE CRIT MISS GOES TO…

age-of-apocalypse-banner

Sorry X-Folk. But the truth is, you guys managed to take a beloved chapter of X-Men history and turn it into some of the most boring Chases we’ve ever gotten. I mean, Sunfire was fine, except that was, roughly estimating, the 18th version of Sunfire we got JUST IN THAT SET!!

Wolverine was okay; Ninwashui swore up and down that Magneto was the best piece in that set, surpassing the likes of Iceman and Proteus. Then he reread Mags’s card AND LEFT HIM ENTIRELY OUT OF HIS TOP TEN.

But Colossus. Oh, sleepy, boring, crappy Colossus. Even the great Scott Porter was completely underwhelmed when he was just drooling to pull a Chase for his unboxing video and ended up with this doorstop.

Sure, Joker’s Wild gave us the walking poop-ka-bob that some folks call Bizarro Aquaman, but the truth is, most of the Bizarros are pretty good; Bizarro Joker is downright useful; and Bizarro Green Arrow is a straight Meta monster who can force your opponent to CHANGE THEIR ENTIRE STRATEGY WHEN THEY ATTACK YOU!!

And as much as it sucked that BvS didn’t have any official Chases, the Hobby Exclusive Bats and Target Exclusive Supes felt close enough to Chases anyway.

 

worst-prime-rib

WORST PRIME

The Nominees:

SFSM053B Kraven (Superior Foes of Spider-Man)

JW037B Looker (Joker’s Wild)

UXM053B Phoenix (Uncanny X-Men)

AND THE CRIT MISS GOES TO…

phoenix-2

The only upset here is that it wasn’t even that close.

Oh, you played Phoenix here? Well, she’s pretty much your whole team since she costs 250 Points, so enjoy that top dial 10 Attack. And heaven help you if your opponent has Stealth!

Phoenix is the type of tentpole that did well in, like, 2007. Unfortunately, she was created in the wrong era.

 

batman-and-robin

WORST COMIC-BOOK MOVIE

The Nominees:

Batman v Superman

Suicide Squad

X-Men: Apocalypse

AND THE CRIT MISS GOES TO…

suicide-squad-2

Wow was this bad. Batman v Superman gets killed a lot, but there were at least a few watchable scenes in that movie.

And X-Men Apocalypse had another cool(-ish) Quicksilver scene, which is more than I can say for our “winning” film.

Suicide Squad is just straight up bonkers. Not in a good way; no, it’s bonkers in more of a “What the #%$* were they thinking here?” And Will Smith was TRYING!! He was doing everything he could to charisma this movie into something watchable, but even he couldn’t save it.

I remember sitting in the theater when the group finally gears up, we’re finally (FINALLY) done with Act 1, except we’re not, because then freaking Katana shows up out of the blue for the first time in the movie seemingly so Joel Kinnaman can deliver one of the worst lines in modern movie history about her stupid sword that never really does anything.

Honestly, every scene feels like they shot the first draft of the script and then only used first takes.

This should have been so much better…

 

Okay!! Well, that’s enough for tonight! Sometime after Clix-Mas, we’ll revisit the Crit Misses and hand out a few more awards!

And remember to park it back here tomorrow night for more Clix-Mas goodness!!

 

OverLooked!! (Or, Three 5-Star World’s Finest Pieces That Went Overlooked in 2016!!) (Or, The Fourth Night of Clix-Mas!!)

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Once again (and this time, with feeling!), we are shamelessly unleashing the 12 Nights of Clix-Mas! Tonight is Night 4! If you missed The First Night of Clix-Mas, you can read what it’s all about right here! Night 2 was the nascent edition of a new holiday scenario we’ve been cooking up and can be found… here-ish! Night 3 took a brief look back at Horrorclix.]

sad-batman

So, I skipped Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice in theaters this year. Kept meaning to go, but I never did. The truth is, I show up opening weekend now for just about any MCU property (bring on “Marvel’s Fancy Ghosts!!“) because Marvel movies have earned my trust–the DCEU really hasn’t yet. But that’s a conversation for another day.

Anyway, I finally bought BvS: DoJ on Blu-Ray and watched the whole Extended Edition (or whatever it’s called) the other day. Yeeeesh. It is a mess (why was Lois Lane even IN this movie?!), and critics were right to write it off. Buuuut… But…

Ben Affleck is trying in this movie. He really is. It’s a good performance that will, frankly, end up overlooked in the annals of cinema when people think back on 2016.

Which brings us, in a roundabout way, to today! 2016 saw the release of NINE different Heroclix sets (which doesn’t even count all the Fast Forces, Starters and Monthly OP LE’s we got). We got a ton of 5-Star worthy figures this year, but not all have made their way into the Meta.

So today, we’re going to take a look at three overlooked 5-Star figures from this year’s first set, World’s Finest, and try to figure out what went wrong!

overwatch-calvarys-not-coming

Cheers love! The cavalry’s… not coming.

THE THREE MOST OVERLOOKED 5-STAR FIGURES OF WORLD’S FINEST!!

Nightlantern

3. WF037B Nightlantern: The Rare Prime from the year’s first full set, World’s Finest, Nightlantern still carries a 5-Star rating on HCRealms.com and was supposed to set the Meta on fire with his “Everyone is now an Entity!!” Trait (EVERY PERSON I KNOW IS AN AMALGAM OF TWO FROM YOUR UNIVERSE?: When building your force, you may pay 25 points and put a standard character on your sideline, called an Amalgam. At the beginning of the game, equip the Amalgam to a standard friendly character (other than Nightlantern) that is higher points than the Amalgam’s highest point value and link it to that character’s dial. For the rest of the game, the Amalgam provides the below effect when equipped: EFFECT: At the beginning of your turn or when when this character is clicked, you may choose a standard power on the equipped dial. This character can use that power until your next turn or clicked.).

When the set was first released, Nightlantern was going for a blistering $65-$75–unheard of for a Rare Prime, but folks were obsessed with all the possibilities he provided. Well, fast forward 10 months, and folks are dying to unload him for less than half of that original amount.

What Went Wrong: The Meta just never evened out for this piece. It doesn’t help that his dial is a little pricey at 150 for what you get (remember, that 150 doesn’t even include the extra 25 Points for an Amalgam): One Click of Hypersonic, 2 almost useless Clicks of TK and Leadership, etc.

Basically, to make use of his best ability (his Trait), you have to invest more than half of your total Build points in a 300 Point game. That is tough to make work.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Sure it’s tough, but that didn’t stop us from compiling a pretty comprehensive list of possibilities back in March!]

In a Meta era where folks are building entire teams around maximizing the number of Call-In Cheese Wheels they can use in one game, finding 25 Points to spend on an Amalgam is nearly impossible (or, to look at it another way, you’re spending the exact same amount of points that 5 Call-Ins would cost you).

Will We See Him Again?: If Wizkids decides that they’ve had enough of the Avengers Round Table and the Avengers ID cards and rotates them out around May of next year, then maybe. The JLA Teleporter will still be around, but if it’s suddenly impossible to call-in Hawkeye, Thor or Nick Fury, the Call-In strategy as a whole may fall out of favor.

There’s not really any recent Resources to pick from, so in this scenario (remember, Pandora’s Box and the 7 Deadly Sins would have rotated out as well, since they were released prior to the Round Table in 2015) players looking to upgrade a character with some off the board shenanigans would almost certainly give Nightlantern another look.

But it’s not nearly clear yet which way Wizkids is going to go with next year’s set rotations.

KC SUpes

2. WF061R Superman: This is the World’s Finest Chase KC Supes on his “Tower Click.” For just 35 Points, he’s extremely tough to KO (18 Defense, Invincible PLUS the KC TA), but he has the potential to lock down two of your opponent’s best pieces every turn with his Damage Special (I WANT TO FARM IN PEACE: Superman can use Incapacitate with two targets and an attack value of 12. Hit characters can’t make ranged attacks during their turn.).

Considering that he also has an 8 Range and the Superman Ally TA, there’s not a lot of places for your opponent to hide, especially if you win Map Roll and are able to take the game someplace without much Blocking or Elevated Terrain. Ended up ranked at number five in our World’s Finest Top Ten, which was pretty high considering how stacked that set was!

What Went Wrong: A few things. First, just like with Nightlantern, if you’re playing a popular Meta Build like an Ultron Drone Call-In team or a Devil Dinosaur Critter Spawn team, Superman doesn’t really fit so well into either of those archetypes. You’re 35 Points would be better spent elsewhere.

And even if you’re not playing one of those two teams, this version of Supes isn’t a great counter to either of those rosters, either. There’s just too many targets, even with his double bolts. Nick Fury? Sure! Supes can see through Stealth and tag him almost every turn (or at least make Fury spend an inordinate amount of time dealing with a 35-Point piece while you surround him with the rest of your force).

The other thing that hurt Supes here in the Meta was a controversial post-release ruling in May that basically made it impossible to use Supes–or any KC “Tower Click” figure–as a “Time Walk” Call-In piece. So he was kind of neutered both coming and going.

Will We See Him Again?: Probably not. The Call-In ban really hurts. However…

Wizkids just ruled recently that–in certain circumstances–Superior Foes Chameleon can actually use KC “Tower Click” pieces as a disguise. This may breathe new life into Supes’s Meta career, assuming Chameleon catches on a little bit more. Control is just that important in the Meta right now.

And of course, his regular dial should continue to see Meta play as a Call-In on its own…

weapon-drop

Oh. Yeah…

1. FFWFS100 Weapon Drop: This is almost a Resource masquerading as a Special Object. Offering (somewhat unpredictable) access to great abilities like Pulse Wave, Regen and Pen/Psy, the Weapon Drop seemed poised to become this cycle’s Gamma Bomb, a must-have Special Object that would show up time and time again.

And yet, despite all that, and despite its 5-Star rating on HCRealms.com… you just don’t really see it played that much.

What Went Wrong: Nothing in particular–I just think its time has not come yet. World’s Finest was released in February, and at that point, there was really less than two months left in the 300 ROC Limited format. I don’t think there was enough time for players to really embrace this piece’s Meta potential before the ROC rotated in a straight 300 Modern format.

Will We See It Again?: Well, as we slowly get back to that format, I think you’ll start to see the Weapon Drop show up more and more.

In a Resource-rich environment, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. In a Resource-less environment, though, it suddenly becomes extremely versatile and powerful.

 

Agree? Disagree? Sound off in the Comments below. And let us know if you enjoyed this look back at World’s Finest and if you want to see OverLooked become a regular feature on the site!

Lastly, don’t forget to come right back to this space tomorrow(-ish) for more 12 Days of Clix-Mas!!

Until then, Stay Safe, and Watch Where You Draw Your Lines of Fire!!

 

Patriotic Captain America!! (Or, Happy Fourth of July!!)

Cap 4th

Too obvious? Probably, but hey, with $400+M in domestic grosses, $1.15+B in worldwide box office and a starring role in this summer’s 4 month long OP series, it’s a Captain America summer–we’re just living in it.

So I’m finally, FINALLY approaching something that could be called “healthy,” which means it’s time to get back to a more regular (or at least more frequent!) posting schedule, after missing most of June.

Next up is a belated Uncanny X-Men Top Ten Set Review, followed by a few thoughts on the Civil War OP figures and some Build articles, all of which should take us right to the doorstep of the Superior Foes of Spider-Man!! I’m really looking forward to that one.

I’d also like to give a big tip of the cap to all the servicemen and women who keep my country safe every day. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

So stay safe, watch where you draw your lines of fire (especially with actual fireworks) and meet us right back here later this week!!

 

It Might Get Loud!! (Or, Critical Missives Scenario #1: MCU Heroes Versus Villains!!)

Avengers poster

Hello again!

Today we’re here to share our first scenario with you. In celebration of the May 2nd premiere of Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ninwashui and I have prepared a couple special scenarios that we’re going to play out on our own time. Our first scenario is detailed here today!

[EDITOR’S NOTE: For those who are unaware, a scenario is any game of Heroclix with special rules that are specific to that particular game. Often times they are meant to be played with either a specific set of figures, or else they give you a much smaller range of figures with which to create your Build. Usually there is also a small bit of story context accompanying the scenario (that justifies its existence and/or explains the comic or movie-based storyline you’re about to play out). WizKids sometimes creates scenarios for added depth of play during their OP events and distributes instructions on how to play them with the OP Scenario Pack (for example, Fear Itself had 2 Scenario Pack, War of Light had 1).]

Ninwashui and I have been chomping at the bit to try out some of these new Age of Ultron Gravity Feed pieces, but this Scenario will also give us a chance to break out some of our favorite older Movie Set pieces as well.

So, without further ado, here is our first Critical Missives Scenario. Taking a page from Survivor, it’s simply titled…

 

AvU

HEROES VS. VILLAINS!!

The Scenario: It’s all out war in the Marvel Cinematic Universe!!

While inside Avengers Tower celebrating their ability to finally subdue the Hulk’s latest rampage, Captain America, Thor, Iron Man and the rest of the Avengers are finally able to relax. During a fun game of “Whosoever Is Worthy to Pick Up Thor’s Hammer,”all of the Tower’s computers suddenly light up. The Tesseract Thor had brought back with him from Asgard begins to spew energy, and a temporal anomaly forms in the Tower’s Quinjet hangar! For a moment, everything seems normal–until the hangar is ripped open, and the Avengers find themselves under attack from the menacing AI of Ultron and his Sentries! But things immediately go from bad to worse as almost EVERY major villain from the MCU–even some they thought they had dealt with permanently–begin flooding in from the anomaly! The fate of the world is in the hands of the Avengers, and to save it, they’ll have to fight their worst enemies or die trying. 

But the Villains aren’t the only ones back from the beyond. An ally once thought lost has returned to aid the Avengers, and he’s brought a really big gun…

The Game: Designed for 2 Players. 1600 Points. Oreo Age. One player assumes control of the “Heroes” side. The other will guide the “Villains.”

The Map: Avengers Tower (from the Age of Ultron Movie Set Starter Pack). The “Heroes” should begin in the Starting Zone located on the side with the lab, while the “Villains” should start on the side with the open hangar.

The Special Scenario Rules:

–When forces are being built, the “Heroes” player selects a Named keyword possessed by a character on his team; each character on his force has the selected keyword.

–When forces are being built, the “Villains” player selects a Named keyword possessed by a character on his team; each character on his force has the selected keyword.

–At the beginning of each player’s first turn, that player may select a single Additional Team Ability (ATA) and assign that Team Ability to all eligible members of their team. At least one member of a player’s force must have the printed keyword required for the chosen ATA.

–There is a restriction of 5 actions per team per turn (NOT COUNTING FREE ACTIONS). This total can be increased by Leadership as per normal.

–While we’re not going to bother with declaring Sidelines or anything, the “Heroes” player should have at least 4 Iron Legions stashed off the map (as well as a Captain America and Black Widow & Iron Man and War Machine Duo Figures if available) and the “Villains” should have at least 4 Test Subjects ready to go.

Special Character Rules:

–In addition to his normal stats and powers, Agent Coulson gets the following Special Damage Power on Click number 4: “So That’s What it Does: Once per game, if this click is revealed due to damage taken from an opposing attack, stop turning the dial and select an opposing character. Agent Coulson can use Pulse Wave. When he does, the area of effect for this attack is his range value, he has a locked damage value of 3, and this attack ignores all characters except the opposing character selected for this power. After actions resolve, deal Agent Coulson 1 unavoidable damage. This power cannot be countered or ignored.”

–When forces are being built, the “Villains” player may assign either Loki or Red Skull GGS102 Cosmic Cube without paying its cost. During the game, figures named “Loki,” “Red Skull” or “Captain America” automatically succeed when rolling for the Cosmic Cube.

 

THE ROSTERS:

 

Avengers 1 MCU

Heroes:

 AAOU003 Captain AmericaCommon125 Points

AAOU101 Iron Man Mk. 43Starter Pack150 

AAOU005 ThorCommon200

AAOU008E HulkCommon250

AAOU013 Black WidowMass Market Rare 80

AAOU009 HawkeyeCore Hobby Rare94

AAOU010 Scarlet WitchCore Hobby Rare55

AAOU014 Quicksilver Mass Market Rare63

AAOU011 VisionCore Hobby Rare100

IM3016 War MachineMass Market Rare220

CATWS006 FalconCommon105

AAOU015 Nick FuryMass Market Rare45

AVM206 Agent CoulsonCommon50

CATWS011 Maria HillCore Hobby Rare60

= 1597 (Hmmm… Heroes are apparently so confident that they’re leaving 3 Points on the board!)

 

Marvel Villains

Villains:

AVM211 LokiChase220 Points

AVM041 Red SkullChase170

IM3008 Aldrich KillianCommon35

TDW004 MalekithCommon350

CATWS008 Winter SoldierCommon100 

GOTGM106 RonanStarter Pack300

AAOU016 Baron StruckerMass Market Rare95

AAOU018 Ultron PrimeMass Market Chase250

AAOU007 Ultron SentryCommon40

AAOU007 Ultron SentryCommon40

= 1600 Points!! (Villains got their $#!t together!)

 

Why These Teams?: Because, as I mentioned before, this gives us a chance to really dig into the new Age of Ultron Movie Set while also providing an opportunity to dust off some old favorites. As for these specific rosters, we chose them because–between the two of us–we happen to have all these pieces and the points match pretty damn close (in a 1600 Point game, I’m prepared to deal with a variance of 3 points).

Handicapping the Squads: While we haven’t decided who will play which side, just looking at the rosters, I’d expect the “Heroes” side to have a distinct advantage. While there is certainly a ton of raw power on the “Villains” side (and Ooooo, Malekith at 350 looks like soooo much fun…), the “Heroes” side is much more synergistic with their “Avengers Assemble!” Traits and such. Still, we shall see…

The Result: Check back in this space next week. Once we play out the Scenario, we’ll post the highlights and tell you who won right here!! (And/or in the next Weekly Roundup–we’re waaaay overdue for one of those!)

Until next time, Stay Safe, and Watch Where You Draw Your Lines of Fire!!

Say Geronimo! (Or, The Weekly Roundup for 11/23/2014!!)

Roundup

Hello again! It’s been a solid month since we last rounded up everything there is to, y’know, round up! And, given that Thanksgiving is just about here, I figured everyone could use a Turkey Day Roundup!

So what’s been going on this last 30 days? Well, War of Light is finally done (at least at most venues); The Flash has finally released (after just a one week delay); and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies should finally be out now at a Target or hobby store near you (or be coming very soon–depends on where you live, it seems).

All of which means we have a lot to talk about, so let’s get going with…

THE WEEKLY ROUNDUP!!

 

Microphone

PODCASTS:

Dial H

Dial H for Heroclix is new every week; last week, in Episode 71, they opened up their Meta Toolbox to talk about all the Modern Age resources in the context of the Meta! And as a special Holiday bonus, they’ve ALREADY released Episode 72!

Yours truly was lucky enough to finish in the Top 4 of their Dial Design contest this month; if you want to get in on the action, December’s Dial Design should start around November 30th.

This is Ultimate Play, b!tches!

–As far as I can tell, Episode 27 is still the most recent ep of The Quarry. The ROC tab on HCRealms has a link to upcoming events and vaguely mentions an Episode 28, but damned if I can find it!

"We're a Thing again!"

–Well, just as quickly as they came back, ClixCast seems to have gone away! They have yet to release an October or November ep, but you can catch their August and September offerings right here!

 

Welcome... to the ROC!

–You can find the latest ROC tourney announcements right here!

 

Preview

–Just announced on the Heroclix.com Downloads tab: there is going to be a “Spider-Man Symbiotes” Monthly Op Kit in May of next year! Looks like there’ll be 3 different versions of Venom!

–No other current Previews, but that’s to be expected as they JUST released Flash. I’d expect no real previews until WizKids’s annual 12 Days of Clix-Mas promotion, where we’ll get a look at next year’s offerings like Justice League: Trinity War, Avengers Assemble and both Avengers: Age of Ultron offerings!

 

Army of the Week

Army of the Week:

So, we’ve gone on and on about the new R.O.C. Format, but sometimes I think we don’t put enough emphasis on choosing the best supporting characters for the Primary Attacker that you’ve chosen. Let’s take a look at how adding or subtracting a single supporting character can drastically alter a Build in this environment!

First, let’s look at the Iron Pharaoh Build from ROC’ing the Meta 2: Electric Boogaloo!

"Oh! Golden Falcon, no! I just polished this armor!"

“NO! Golden Falcon, I just polished this armor!”

Team Name: Slowness as a Way of Death!!

Theme: None (Not Allowed in current R.O.C. Format)

Map Choice Preference: Ryut (from War of Light Month 6)

Roster:

IIM051 Iron Pharaoh 110 Points

IIM040 Shaman 92

DP020 Weasel27

FI001 Thule Society Priest21

FL031 Turtle 50

=300 Points

What This Build Does:

It slows everything down!! Which, as everyone knows by now, is fantastic for pieces like Iron Pharaoh and Fantomex (who can’t really be played in the current format because E.V.A. is a bystander token, which is illegal in “No Tactics” formats). But the fact that Shaman disables flying and Turtle limits people to moving just 4 squares or less (unless they want to take an additional action token) is just an insane combo. And if you win Map Roll (which will happen roughly 50% of the time, since there are no Themed Team Bonuses), Ryut should be a nightmare for most teams you’ll face. Weasel is the best supporting piece (offers a very limited Prob, +1 to Attack and Range and Enhancement) in the game for Ranged-based attackers, and Thule Society Priest is just there to get pushed into another Prob’r.

Okay, now that we know what the default Build does, let’s change the roster a bit!

This is what's known as a 'Dark Future.' (See what I did there?)

This is what’s known as a ‘Dark Future.’ (See what I did there?)

Team Name: “She Blinded Me With Science!

Theme: None (Not Allowed in current R.O.C. Format)

Map Choice Preference: Ryut (from War of Light Month 6)

Roster:

IIM051 Iron Pharaoh 110 Points

IIM040 Shaman 92

FL031 Turtle 50

SLOSH004 Science Police Officer 45

=297 Points

What This Build Does (Differently): This is a Ninwashui variant. Okay, so we lost our main supporting piece (Weasel) and our secondary supporting/tie-up piece (Thule Society Priest), but we added Science Police Officer. What does this do? Well, it slows down the damage Iron Pharaoh can do by about 20%-25% (basically 3 instead of 4). You can make up for this a little bit by constantly keeping Shaman within range and line of fire of Iron Pharaoh, so he can use his Perplex there. But Science Police Officer combos really brutally with Turtle. Science Police Officer’s top dial Damage Special (TACTICAL DEPLOYMENT: When an opposing character within 8 squares is given a free action, if that character has been given a non-free action this turn, after actions resolve, deal that character 1 unavoidable damage.) means that your opponents best attackers are at risk of shutting themselves down before you even attack them!

Let’s run down everything your opponent has to deal with BEFORE you’ve even attacked them (assuming they don’t Copycat away Shaman–which is an unlikely matchup, but not an impossible one):

1. They can’t fly (after Shaman’s “No Flights” ability goes off);

2. They can’t move more than 4 squares at a time UNLESS they want to take a second action token or take 1 Penetrating Damage.

3. If they do try and burst through with one big move and attack (via Charge, Running Shot, Hypersonic Speed, etc.), they take an UNAVOIDABLE DAMAGE in addition to the extra action token/penetrating damage from Turtle!

With all this SLOWNESS going on, you should have plenty of time to get your Golden Falcon into position to start dropping 3 Damage Outwit Bombs!

 

What We’ve Learned:

While both Builds should be competitive no matter who you play, the first Build is fairly aggressive in terms of lining up its shots (with Weasel, Shaman and the available Probs, you’re trying to line up a 4-5 Damage shot that won’t miss after Outwitting a character’s Defense slot).

The second Build is more of a “take the opportunities that my opponent gives me” sort of army, where you’re basically turning the whole map into a spider’s web and waiting for your opponent to get themselves “stuck” (double-tokened and damaged).

That’s two nearly identical Builds with two significantly different styles of play based solely on which supporting character you choose to use!

 

Hooray for Hollllllywooood!!

–Just in case May 2015 wasn’t going to be a busy enough month for Marvel fans (Avengers 2: Age of Ultron; a ton of different Marvel Heroclix sets), that’s also the month that is currently set to be the premiere month for Daredevil, the first of Marvel’s new Netflix shows.

Let’s take a look at the vital stats!

Show: Daredevil

Showrunner: Drew Goddard (first two episodes); Steven S. DeKnight (current showrunner)

Known Regular Cast:

Daredevil/Matt Murdock: Charlie Cox

Karen Page: Deborah Ann Wolf

Foggy Nelson: Elden Hensen

Wilson Fisk/Kingpin: Vincent D’Onofrio

Claire Temple/Night Nurse (?): Rosario Dawson

Vanessa Marianna: Ayelet Zurer

Known Notable Guest Stars/Recurring Cast:

Stick: Scott Glenn

Ben Urich: Vondie Curtis-Hall

Leland Owlsley: Bob Gunton

Hachiro: Peter Shinkoda

Daredevil will go for at least one season of 13 episodes, with the character currently expected to play a major role in a planned “Defenders” mini-series which would feature all of Marvel’s Hells Kitchen-based heroes teaming up in an Avengers-like fashion.

It is entirely too early to know whether we’ll get a second season of Daredevil and/or when that would premiere. As of now, even the “Defenders” show is somewhat theoretical; if they four lead-up series bomb, you can bet Marvel and Netflix will find a way to can the mini-series.

On the other hand, if Daredevil is wildly successful (and only Netflix and Disney will really have any idea, since digital distribution success is almost impossible for folks outside the industry to determine), I’d expect Marvel to go ahead with both “The Defenders” AND a second season of Daredevil. And possibly even start added some mystical heroes to the Netflix slate, starting with Blade and Ghost Rider.

–The second Marvel Netflix series after Daredevil will be the as-yet-unofficially-titled Jessica Jones series. Casting has begun, with rumors swirling around who will play both Jessica Jones AND recurring guest star (and star of Marvel’s third Netflix series) Luke Cage!!

For the next Weekly Roundup, I’m going to start compiling season-long episode guides of current genre TV shows, starting with…

 

Gotham Title

 

 

Local Tournament Report

Upcoming Local Events:

Annnnd, welcome back to the latest feature category for the Weekly Update–Upcoming Local Events!

For any who have forgotten, this is the spot where we’ll post a few notices about interesting upcoming games at venues in and around Southeastern Michigan, where Critical Missives is based. If any venue would like us to announce an upcoming event anywhere in the country, you can hit us up on Twitter or let us know via feedback to this very post!

–RIW Hobbies in Livonia is hosting a Sealed Draft of War of Light on 12/05!!

–If you’re looking to try D&D Attack Wing, Month One of the Tyranny of Dragons OP is happening at Eternal Games in Warren on 12/06.

–Annnd, one week later, Eternal Games is running a really cool event that they’re calling War of Light: Month 7! This will happen on 12/13 @ 1pm, and will feature a 600-Point Constructed tournament as well as Battle Royal side events throughout the day!

 

Wait--it's already listing this post!! Huh?! Whaa?! Must be magic!!

Critical Missives:

–We were ROC’ing the Meta this past couple weeks. Part 1 is here; Part 2 is here!

Coming up in the next week, we should have a Comics & More War of Light: Month 6 Battle Report PLUS both my AND Ninwashui’s Flash Top Ten Reviews!

And that’s it for this week!! Until then, stay safe, and watch where you draw those lines of fire!

Let’s Be Lanterns!! (Or, Let’s Build an Army for Each Lantern Corps–PART 1 of 3!!)

Lets Be Cops

So, I’m at the theater a couple weeks ago, Guardians of the Galaxy is starting in a few minutes (FYI, Guardians is awesome–if you’re remotely interested in anything on this blog, you’ll love it and should just go see it right now! I’ll be here when you get back–I promise!), and the last trailer I see is for “Let’s Be Cops,” a new comedy starring Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans, Jr. It’s out now and it’s about a couple of buddies who go to a costume party dressed as cops, then decide to keep the charade going in their everyday lives when they become “neighborhood sensations.” Looks funny enough, but it also gave me an idea for today’s article. If two slackers can put on some uniforms and become cops, then, hey, what’s to stop us from collecting together some ‘Clix and becoming Space Cops?

That’s right!

Today…

Let’s Be Lanterns!!

Lantern Corps

Ninwashui and I are gonna come up with competitive Builds for each color of the emotional spectrum based off of the current Storyline OP War of Light set! But we’re also gonna add in a twist! Each Build has to be Theme (of course), and each build has to feature a character not traditionally associated with that color’s Corps.! Now this can be interpreted in a couple of different ways; sometimes, WizKids has taken care of this for us by printing an “off-color” version of a traditional Green Lantern (Hal Jordan, Kyle Rayner, John Stewart, Guy Gardner, etc.) in the War of Light set (Indigo John Stewart, anyone?); other times, we’ll be getting a lil’ creative by inducting someone (or someONES) into a certain color’s Corps by Possessing them with an Entity!

Are these Builds gonna win multiple ROC’s? Uhhh… no, probably not. But you should be able to take these to a local tourney and stand a chance. That’s the goal, at least.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Many of these builds use Power Batteries and Constructs; WizKids has been real coy about exactly how you’ll get half the Constructs for each color. As such, many don’t yet have an official designation yet in terms of collector numbers, so occasionally you’ll see something like “WOL???” instead of a full designation for certain Constructs.)

With all that said, here we go!

 

Parallax Hal Jordan

SINESTRO CORPS (HypeFox Build)

Team Name: Pair ‘0 Smacks

Theme: Sinestro Corps

Character Not Normally Associated With the Sinestro Corps: Hal Jordan (normally a Green Lantern)

Roster:

WOL041 Parallax (Hal Jordan)250 Points

WOL099 Despotellis30

WOLR105 Power Battery (Yellow)2

WOLR305 Sinestro Corps Ring4

WOLR205.03 Sinestro Mallet4

WOLR205.09 Sinestro Nurse10

=300 (Woo-Hoo!)

 

 How It Plays: Is anyone else annoyed that the Yellow Lanterns are referred to as the “Sinestro Corps?” You’re Yellow Lanterns. Just be Yellow Lanterns! It makes things soooo much easier. At least the Indigo Tribe still has “Indigo” in their name. Sigh…

Regardless, we’re gonna use someone who’s normally a Lantern, just not this color. Actually, if you subscribe to our Twitter feed (and if not, why not? It’s free!), you would have gotten this army a little bit earlier than everyone else who’s just reading about it now.

Basically, the goal with this army is to make Parallax Hal Jordan as close to un-hittable as possible. Hal Jordan’s base Defense is 18. He has Impervious (which means roughly 33% of the time you’re hit with a non-Precision Strike, non-penetrating attack, you’ll evade it altogether) with the Quintessence Team Ability (which means his powers can’t be countered). Once he gets a Construct on him from the Sinestro Corps Battery, all his stats except Damage get +1; so now his Defense is a 19 with un-Outwittable Impervious. But wait! There’s more!

The Sinestro Corps Power Battery gives every opposing figure with a point cost of 249 or less (roughly 90% of Meta figures, if not more) an additional -2 when attacking Parallax. Yes, this should work even against opposing Pulse Waves since the Battery isn’t a character (and thus could never have a line of fire drawn to it by Pulse Wave).

Let’s say, oh, I dunno, Bullseye (with a stat bump from an Entity) tries to shoot Hal. Normally, with a 12 Attack, he’d need a 7 to hit Hal’s 19 (native 18+1 from the Ring) Defense. But with the Sinestro Corps Power Battery, suddenly Bullseye needs a 9 just to touch Hal Jordan. And if he makes it…. Hal has Probability Control and a 9 Range!

So now, Bullseye–who, again, has a ridiculously good starting Attack Value–needs to hit a 9 or more TWICE! And that’s assuming that Bullseye’s not within Range of the Power Battery, which has the potential to make him Prob AGAIN if it’s on the right Click! Now, if your opponent can roll a 9 or better three times in a row… good luck to him (or her). They must be right with the Lord. Or be sitting on a horseshoe.

Now, you can go a few different ways with the Constructs; I’ve chosen the Nurse and the Mallet. The Nurse absolutely hoses Copycat strategies (and even though she’s 60 more points, I’d still rather keep my Despotellis, thank you veddy much) while the Mallet can be quite useful if the opposition is able to surround and swarm Hal. You could also go with some combination of the Net, Spotlight or Decoy. I just hate dealing with Copycat so much that I’d rather just nerf her with the Nurse Construct, but I’d suspect most folks would rather go with the Spotlight and Net.

 

Bitter Ninwashui

BITTER Ninwashui Says: “I came up with this idea a few weeks ago and sent it to HypeFox, who promptly stole it, took credit for it and gave it away on Twitter. But yes, I was happy with this Build; Parallax Hal Jordan is a beast who cannot be reasoned with. He doesn’t fly, but he does everything else, drops 5-Damage bombs from 9 squares away and he can Carry Despotellis with no penalty to his Movement. And good luck trying to hit either of these yellow jackwagons. But the Nurse? I would definitely go with the spotlight and either the Net or Decoy. The Spotlight makes Hal especially disgusting, which, as always, means you should probably give it to him.

 

"James Howlett, you have a great capacity for compassion. Welcome to--waaaaiiit, did you just stab the $#!t out of someone? I don't think you understand how this ring works. "

“James Howlett, you have a capacity for great compassion. Welcome to–waaaaiiit, is that blood? Hold on, did you just stab the $#!t out of someone? Unless you just used your claws to put down an injured horse, I don’t think you understand how this ring works!”

INDIGO TRIBE (Ninwashui Build)

Team NameThe Replacement Killers

ThemeThe Hand

Character Not Normally Associated With the Indigo Tribe: Uh, all of them? Especially cuz they’re all Marvel characters? And stabby?

Roster:

DP103 Wolverine, Agent of Hydra – 90 Points

w/ The Hand ATA – 7

DP006 Hand Ninja – 43

w/ The Hand ATA – 7

WXM044 Silver Samurai100

w/ The Hand ATA – 7

WOLR104 Power Battery (Indig0)2

WOLR304 Indigo Tribe Ring4

WOLR204.01 Indigo Net8

WOLR204.03 Indigo Mallet – 4

WOLR204.04 Indigo Wall10

WOLR204.08 Indigo Scissors8

WOL204.09 Indigo Nurse10

=300 (Woo-Hoo! Again!!)

 

How It Plays: Waaaaay back in Season 2 of Friends, there was an episode where Monica is hired by a company to come up with recipes for a substance called Mockolate, a synthetic chocolate substitute. By the end of the episode, she returns to the company with a list of Mockolate recipes that are extremely light on actual Mockolate since it turns out that Mockolate is terrible (Phoebe, upon tasting one of Monica’s Mockolate recipes: “Oooohhhh, this is what evil must taste like!”).

Well, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, this Build is light on actual native Indigo Tribe members. They are, in a word, awful–it turns out that the Indigo Tribe is the Mockolate of War of Light. In fact, the Theme of this Build is actually The Hand. And that’s okay–even though these characters are all pretty evil, violent and mostly psychotic, they’re PERFECT for the color of compassion, and we’ll use the Indigo Power Battery to induct them!

Since none of them start with the Indigo Tribe keyword, they’ll all gain that keyword and the Support ability; just as important, when a non-adjacent friendly character within 6 squares takes 3 or more damage, after actions resolve, if that character hasn’t been healed this turn, you may place this character adjacent to that character and heal that character of 1 damage. That’s kind of a strange ability, but since this is a close combat team that will probably never NOT be within six squares of each other, it allows the team to swarm opposing figures when they get significant hits in on your team.

And that’s if they can find your team. One of the perils of close combat-based teams is advancing close enough to attack before your own characters get battered themselves. Well, The Hand ATA–which all three characters have–states that “When it is not your turn, lines of fire to a character using this team ability are blocked if this character is adjacent to a wall or blocking terrain.” Hmmm… if only there was a Construct that allowed a character to use Barrier every turn as a free action so that the team could continue its advance without wasting tokens. Oh wait, there is! It’s the Wall, and it’s part of this very force!

Once you make it to your opponent, you should be able to cut them to ribbons in short order. Wolverine’s Trait (MY KIND OF HYDRA: When friendly characters use the Hydra team ability, they can also affect close combat attacks and don’t need line of fire to the target.) makes it hard for Hand characters to miss, and the fact that both he and Silver Samurai have Leadership means that you should be able to keep up with your opponent on taking meaningful actions even though you only have three characters.

 

Star-Lord Gesture

SURPRISED HypeFox Says: “Wow! I actually did not think of NOT using ANY Indigo Tribe characters at all. I guess we can allow it, since they’ll all get the keyword when they get a Construct. And technically it IS a Theme Team. When I assigned you Indigo Tribe, I thought you were screwed, since they all kind of blow chunks, but I have to say, you pulled a Kobayashi Maru and changed the parameters on me. Good job, sir. I’m pretty sure you cheated somehow, and I’m definitely sure you should be drummed out of Starfleet, but good job!! The fact that this team would be next to impossible to target with a ranged attack would make it downright frustrating to play against and would make me hate the game–the hallmark reaction of anyone who plays against a team designed by Ninwashui. Bravo!

 

Royal Shot to the Nuts

INTROSPECTIVE Ninwashui Responds: “Uh… thanks? I think I detected some sarcasm there. Either way, You’re Welcome! Also, have you noticed that we’ve completed two builds and not used even a single Entity?”

 

LEGO’D HypeFox Predicts: “Yeah, that’s about to change. Like now.”

 

Larfleeze with Battery

 ORANGE LANTERN CORPS (HypeFox Build)

Team Name: Orange Is the New Ultron

Theme: Sinestro Corps

Character Not Normally Associated With the Orange Lantern CorpsSecret Empire Number 9. I mean, he’s ninth–dude’s barely even associated with the Secret Empire, let’s be honest.

Roster:

WOL109 Larfleeze – 200 Points

DP204 Secret Empire Number 9 – 35

WOL063P Ophidian – 25 (Possessing Secret Empire Number 9)

WOLR103 Power Battery (Orange)2

WOLR303 Orange Lantern Ring – 6

WOLR203.04 Orange Wall10

WOLR203.05 Orange Crossbow10

WOLR203.12 Orange Spotlight6

WOLR203.14 Orange Sniper Rifle – 6

=300 (Woo-Hoo! Still got it!!)

 

How It Plays: Remember that scene in Aliens at the end when Ripley goes back for Newt and we finally see the Alien Queen for the first time, and she’s just chilling in her brood cave spawning gooey egg after gooey egg? Yeah, on this team, Larfleeze is that Alien Queen, constantly spawning sticky,Glomulus-shaped eggs.

Larfleeze is, himself, a brick, especially when you give him a Construct (like, say, the Spotlight or the Crossbow–in addition to their Relic effects, since Larfleeze is already an Orange Lantern, they pump up all his stats except Damage by +1), but the real fun in playing him is summoning the Orange Lantern Corps with his Attack Special (SUMMON THE ORANGE LANTERN CORPS: Give Larfleeze a free action to place a WOL #H001 Orange Lantern Absorbed into an adjacent square. Give Larfleeze a power action to place a WOL #001 Orange Lantern Construct into an adjacent square. Use these abilities only if no more than 3 total friendly characters, including tokens within stacks, with either name are on the map.).

Secret Empire Number 9 is there to provide support with his Hydra ATA, native Enhancement (if Larfleeze has the Crossbow and is adjacent to Secret Empire Number 9, he’s rocking a 12 Attack and 5 Damage BEFORE you divvy up your RCE bonus!) and a top dial Ophidian-granted Outwit Special (DESIRE OF GREED: Ophidian can use Outwit. When it does it can use the countered power or ability for as long as it’s countered.). With Ophidian Possessing him, S.E.M#9 (as all the cool kids call him) is even a half decent secondary attacker, since he alternates between Pen/Psy and Energy Explosion. Annnnnd, when you give him the Orange Sniper Rifle, things start to get scary. Suddenly he’s stealing powers FROM 10 SQUARES AWAY! He’s Pen/Psy’ing FROM 10 SQUARES AWAY! I mean, I’m’a chill on the capital letters for a minute, but you get the point! While all the lil’ Glomulus’s are swarming problem pieces, your freaking Secret Empire Number 9 can be taking pot shots–and doing pretty decent damage.

And if you win Map Roll and go first (or really, even if you don’t–it’s just more effective if you’re going first), you can even use the Battery’s Emotional Spectrum Power (EMOTIONAL SPECTRUM: GREED: If the Power Battery, attached Power Ring, and Constructs are all the same color, give the Power Battery a power action and choose a power, combat ability or team ability that a friendly Corps member can use. Opposing characters can’t use that power or ability until your next turn.) to pull a Shaman and keep your opponent from using basic abilities like Flight, which means they’ll take forever to get across the map, which means that Larfleeze’ll have all day to summon his army!

If you’re patient with this team, you’ll usually get what you want–a victory.

 

Drunk Raccoon

DRUNK RACCOON Ninwashui Says: “I thought Larfleeze’s whole deal was that he doesn’t share power. This seems thematically wrong. Having said that, this isn’t a bad way to go. If I were playing this team, Larfleeze’s lack of Willpower/Indomitable would worry me; you’d really have to be good at picking your spots with Larfleeze in terms of spitting out reinforcements, using his Barrier SP or just straight out attacking for a bazillion on one figure. I wasn’t wild about your choice of S.E.M.#9 at first; yes, he’s a great boon to Larfleeze, but you won’t always be attacking with Larfleeze, will you? But the more I think about it, the more I like the possibilities that he offers. You could theoretically throw a Sniper Rifle on an Orange Lantern Construct and–if he’s adjacent to Mr. Empire–the OLC (See? I can do acronyms too) will suddenly be rocking a 10 Attack (which equates to an 11 with Mr. Empire’s Hydra TA) and 3 Damage… from 10 SQUARES AWAY (See, I can hit Caps Lock too)!! That’s not bad. Off subject–um, is that Raccoon in the picture–

 

Kanye Interrupting

INTERRUPTING HypeFox Says: “You mean you?”

 

Drunk Raccoon 2

DRUNK RACCOON Ninwashui Continues: “No, not me–fine me, you, whoever. <Sigh> I don’t even know where this bit is going–it’s so damn random. Nevertheless, can we even run that picture? I mean, isn’t that first raccoon a lil’… y’know… excited?”

 

John Krasinski

 

 

Drunk Raccoon 3

DRUNK RACCOON Ninwashui: “Uh… hello?”

 

John Krasinski Paw

 HypeFox Responds: “Look againThat’s his PAW.”

 

Drunk Raccoon 4

DRUNK RACCOON Ninwashui: “Ooooooooohhh, right.”

 

WizKids face palm

FRUSTRATED HypeFox Decrees: “Okay, you’re weirdly obsessed with raccoon paws and we’re officially off the rails. I’m ending this before you hurt yourself–or worse yet, me. Be ready next time with your Blue Lantern team–they’re kicking off Part 2 later this week!”

 

Drunk Raccoon 5

DRUNK, PLOTTING RACCOON Ninwashui Whispers: “Oooohhh, don’t worry. I’ll be ready…

 

The Price to Play!! (Or, The Weekly Roundup for 08/10/2014!!)

Roundup

 

Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd… we’re back!

Sooooo much has happened in the last two weeks in the world of ‘Clix and sports. My Tigers traded at the deadline for one Mr. David Price! Yay! Then they squandered a pretty decent second outing from the Cy Young’er before going on to lose in 19 FREAKING INNINGS! Good gosh.  To be honest, I can’t believe our bullpen held up that long. Even Joe Nathan came through.

Still, it was tense, especially with the Blue Jays constantly on the bases.

Noted Tigers fans Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield could barely stand to watch!

Noted Tigers fans Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield during Sunday’s 19-inning marathon.

What else… what else… Oh, yeah, THIS HAPPENED!!

Cars were floating away down streets. BUT THOSE STUPID ORANGE CONSTRUCTION CONES DIDN'T EVEN BUDGE. WHAAAA....????

During Michigan floods, orange construction barrels become road buoys.

THE RAIN APOCALYPSE CAME AND WENT!! My Lord, that was a lot of water. In the 35 years I’ve been on this Earth, I have never seen Southeastern Michigan flooded before like it was today. Dogs sleeping with cats, cars being swept along streets BY THE TIDE (BUT NOT THE HOLLOW ORANGE CONSTRUCTION BARRELS–OH NO!! APPARENTLY THOSE NEVER MOVE!!)!! Just total insanity!

Incidentally, this is what the Zombie Apocalypse will look like.

Incidentally, this is what the Zombie Apocalypse will look like as well.

After a crazy day like this, I need something normal in my life. Something to restore the balance; something familiar, that’ll let me know life is getting back to normal. You know what? You know what I need? I could really use a…

 

WEEKLY ROUNDUP!!

(Whew! Okay! I can already feel things normalizing! Here we go!)

 

Microphone

PODCASTS:

Dial H

–As always, Dial H for Heroclix was new for the past two weeks! Episode 55 dealt with some Sealed advice for War of Light Wave 2, and Episode 56 is a sort of survival guide for anyone going to GenCon!

Push to Regen

–Push to Regen is still stuck on Episode 2.5!! If you missed it, they discuss last month’s Nationals, work in some War of the Light talk and check in with some listeners!

This is Ultimate Play, b!tches!

–The Quarry’s latest episode is now… Episode 24!! It features an interview with Patrick Yapjoco-slayer recent ROC winner Kevin Afrooz as well as coverage of the Tulsa ROC.

Welcome... to the ROC!

–The ROC continues to streamline their system; they just offered a new breakdown (including costs and prize structure) to stores thinking about holding an ROC event.

–Weaponer of Qward has taken a ROC! Read all about the Bluegrass Mafia’s Super Qualifier (from Lexington, Kentucky) right here!

–A token team backed up by the Power Plant; Bill, Agent of A.I.M.; and a fistful of Weasels and Blind Als has taken the Tulsa Heroclix Group Road to DragonCon 2014 Super Qualifier!

–Speaking of, the full ROC/DragonCon announcement is here!

 

Preview

–Still no official Previews from WizKids, which, again, is weird since GotG releases THIS WEEK! Still, we know a few things:

-The Rares are great! Thanos, like Darkseid in SL0SH, is just a Rare (and he’s got a “Thanosi” Prime as well). Gorr the God-Butcher also looks pretty powerful from the Rare slot. You can see a pretty good list of the expected figures (including ANOTHER Squadron Supreme Super Rare Prime) in the Forums at HCRealms.com.

–The Zombie Chases are, well… SEVERELY UNDERWHELMING at this point. Magneto (who I thought was just murdered by the Zombie hordes in that storyline–I don’t recall him actually becoming a Zombie, but whatever) and Mole Man have me a lil’ excited (more on them in a sec), but not much else. Many of the Chases have been at least partially spoiled. You can find an eBay auction for Zombie Skrull (not Zombie Super-Skrull–just Zombie regular Skrull) that shows part of his card; the other Chases we know about (Zombie Mole Man, Zombie Red Skull, Zombie Gladiator, Zombie Magneto and Zombie Morbius) don’t really move the needle too much.

Zombie Magneto seems decently useful; I’ve heard Zombie Gladiator is, frankly, hot garbage–a (maybe) 150 point character that somehow costs you 250 to field. Zombie Morbius doesn’t seem a heck of a lot different from his ASM version–pretty weak for his points until you get him back to Click 1 via Steal Energy, if you can. Zombie Mole Man seems like an 80-Point Zombie Taxi, although it’s hard to tell exactly what he does from that eBay picture. Finally, Zombie Red Skull is a fairly effective (although slightly expensive) Close Combat piece with some decent supporting powers if his teammates are Zombies or Hydra agents.

 

Wizkids

–Speaking of GotG, (surprise, surprise) it may not release quite on schedule due to shipping delays from China. And stuff.

(Honestly, with GenCon going on this week as well as many venues running War of Light Month 3, a one-week delay shouldn’t raise nearly the amount of complaints as it would have had there been nothing else going on.)

–In case you missed it a couple weeks ago, WizKids has finally responded to the popularity of the ROC, and it’s THIS!! If any of those seven locations was within three hours of Detroit (Chicago is like 4 and 1/2 on a GOOD traffic day), I’d be a little more excited about this…

 

Army of the Week

Army of the Week:

Okay, for this week’s Army of the Week, we’re gonna spotlight Joshua Earnest’s team from the Tulsa ROC we mentioned above.

Agency X

Team NameCall Us Whatever You Want, As Long As You Call Us Winners!

ThemeAgency X

Roster:

DP102 Bill, Agent of A.I.M.30 Points

DP020 Weasel27

DP020 Weasel27

DP018 Blind Al13

DP018 Blind Al13

DOFPH002 Sentinel Sentry x 342 

FIB002 Skadi’s Warbot30

FIH002 Warbot (Rocket) x345

FIH003 Warbot (Machine Gun) x345

IIMR100 Power Plant (everything but Ice Blast)28

=300 Points

 

What We Like: The creativity! Joshua constructed a team where all of his primary, secondary AND tertiary attackers are Horde Tokens/Stacks! The actual figures he chose are the support pieces, an inverse of what we often see. Skadi’s Warbot can be devastatingly effective, particularly with Weasel backing him up. Since he’s Carry ability would most likely kill Skadi’s Warbot, I assume Bill, Agent of A.I.M. is there to move all the support pieces and the other Warbots (who have Toughness) into place and then make sure that they can all open up on their target regardless of line of fire. Because it’s technically a Theme team, each of those support pieces could use Theme Prob as well.

This is an army that would require a Master’s Degree in Positioning and Action Management to run effectively, but clearly Joshua was up to the task! This is definitely one of the most unique ROC-winning teams I’ve ever seen, and I don’t think this is the last we’ll see of Bill and his High-Energy Finder Thing at the ROC or the Sentinel Sentry tokens, either. Well done, Joshua!

 

Hooray for Hollllllywooood!!

Hooray for Hollllllywooood!!

–Guardians of the Galaxy lived up to the hype! Great flick, even greater box office. Highly recommended, although why we didn’t get a [EDITOR’S NOTE: Name redacted.] Clix in the GotG Movie Set from his appearance at the end of the post-credits scene is beyond me! I mean, he’s a Marvel character, he’s carried his own movie before, and he’s popular enough that he’s already had SEVERAL Clix in the past. Oh well–missed opportunity!

–How successful was this movie? Successful enough that Guardians of the Galaxy 2: Electric Bugaloo already has a release date! By the way, if I could buy stock in Chris Pratt’s career or the popularity of Bradley Cooper’s Rocket Raccoon, I would. Like, now.

 

Wait--it's already listing this post!! Huh?! Whaa?! Must be magic!!

Critical Missives:

–Okay, there was only one major article that dropped since the last Weekly Roundup, but it was a doozy! 4000+ words about ranking the Entity Chases from War of Light!

–As always, here’s another reminder that we’re finally on Twitter! You can follow us @criticalmissive to stay up to date on articles (think I’ve got the kinks worked out; it should Tweet the link every time there’s something new to read).

 

And that’s it for this week!! We’ll be back later this week with more and better coverage of War of Light (now that we’re knee deep in Wave 2), and we’ll be posting a Top 10 Review of Guardians of the Galaxy just a bit after that set releases!

Until then, stay safe (and DRY!!), and watch where you draw your lines of fire!

Guarding the Galaxy Part 2: The Starter Review!! (Or, Y’know, A Review of the Guardians of the Galaxy Movie Set Starter Pack!!)

GotG Title

Annnnnnd we’re back! I swear, I haven’t been playing Hearthstone for three days straight! Honest!

(No, for reals–I mean, I would’ve spent the whole three days pulling my hair out trying to take on the Heroic versions of the Naxx Arachnid Quarter Bosses without Alexstrazsa–y’know what? Doesn’t matter right now.)

Okay! So, awhile ago, we published our take on the first 18 figures in the Guardians of the Galaxy Movie Set! But we promised we’d be back later with the back end of the review–namely, the six figures that come in the starter! Well, here we are!

As a whole, I highly recommend purchasing the Starter for the reasons we’re about to get into, but man, there’s not really a dud piece in the bunch! But before we get to the last six Clix in the set, I want to mention a few things.

First of all, the fact that you get an exclusive Map is just gravy on the cake (no, I’m not mixing metaphors–I just invented the greatest thing ever by combining the two FORMER greatest things ever. You’re Welcome. And yes, that was a reference to the film’s tagline. Ahem.). Yes, I know all Starters/Fast Forces come with a map, but it definitely adds to the value of the whole endeavor.

This particular map comes with two Indoor layouts–The Kyln (a space prison, I believe) and Nova Corps. headquarters. Let’s start with the last one first.

MAP: Nova Corps. Headquarters:

Yep--in all of InternetLand, this is the best image I could find for this map. For shame, cyberspace. For Shame!!

Yep–in all of InternetLand, this is the best image I could find for this map. For shame, cyberspace. For Shame!!

This map is a stay away for me. One side is fairly isolated, which can be gold if you’re playing an Iron Pharaoh or Fantomex (read: Stall Team) force, but you’ll never get to play there. If you win Map Roll, you get to choose what map you want, but then your opponent gets to pick what side he gets. And, since he’s seen what you’re playing at this point, if he has any idea how your team works, he’d never let you choose the isolated side. Plus, even if you were playing a Iron Pharaoh team, your Falcon would be neutered a tiny bit by not being able to see through Blocking Terrain (since you’re Indoors.). There’s a few teams that could work on a map like this, (The Hand, maybe, powered by Wolverine, Agent of Hydra?), but most of the teams that could work on this map could probably work even better on a different one.

Much more interesting, then, in my eyes at least, is:

MAP: The Kyln:

Ugh--this one's even worse, and I took it myself. Man, why doesn't HCRealms just catalog every map with a clean picture and document every last bit of Orange text and put it all into a nice, free and functional Search Engine? Man, it's like they're not even trying anymore...

Ugh–this one’s even worse, and I took it myself. Man, why doesn’t HCRealms just catalog every Clix map ever made with a clean picture AND document every last bit of Orange text and put it all into a nice, free and functional search engine on their site? Man, it’s like they’re not even trying anymore…

The Kyln has a ton of room to run and hide after striking for Hypersonic characters! Superboy Prime(s), Speed Demon, Whizzer–all would do well on this map! Very exploitable (reeeeeaaaalllly easy to sneak out, nail someone, then swing back around a corner and hide behind Walls!), and if you regularly play tourneys, at the very least, you’ll want this map for your toolbox.

And having said that, let’s move on to the Main Event! We’ll go right in order:

 

Star-Lord Movie Starter

GOTGM101 Star-Lord75 Points – Starter Set: Point for point, the best Star-Lord in the set. Chris Pratt’s alter ego starts out with the Improved Movement power that you probably scoured the other versions’ cards for (CAN’T KEEP THIS UP, BUT I DON’T NEED TO: Improved Movement: Ignores Elevated Terrain, Ignores Hindering Terrain) only to find after much searching that it just wasn’t there. This dial is also interesting because it switches ROLES every other click! He alternates between being a pretty damn good Secondary Attacker in a 300 Point Modern Age game on his odd clicks to being the ultimate supporting figure (he gains Enhancement, Empower AND Perplex) on his even ones. Movie Peter Quill’s first three clicks all have a native 3 Damage, and he’s rocking a 6 Range with Running Shot and Penetrating/Psychic Blast top click (actually, he keeps that Pen/Psy for his first clicks!!). And while everything else is going on, his Trait (get used to seeing this–more than a few figures have it!) gives him a one-time, backstage pass to an improved version of Pulse Wave (HADRON ENFORCER: Once per game, give Star-Lord a free action and choose an unoccupied square of clear terrain within range and line of fire. When you do, Star-Lord can use Pulse Wave this turn as if he occupied that square.)!!

I can’t tell you off of the top of my head exactly how many figures for 75 Points or less have access to both Penetrating/Psychic Blast AND Pulse Wave of ANY kind–much less one that effectively DOUBLES your Range with it–without the benefit of a Resource, but I’m betting the number is EXTREMELY small. Like possibly just Starter Chris Pratt small. Remember, these are the two best Attack Slot powers IN THE GAME! His drawbacks are few. He only has five clicks of life (helped a tiny bit by Toughness on the first three clicks and Super Senses on the last two), and his Defense tops out at 17. Not terrible, but definitely hittable. Still, considering that he brings so many top tier standard powers to the table, he more than makes up for a questionable Defense. He even has decent keywords (GotG, Ravagers, Soldier, etc.). Good gosh, he’s only 75 Points!

GRADE: 4 and 1/2 Oxygen Filtration Masks (he’s not a Chase Rocket Raccoon, but he ain’t far off!)

 

"It's real!!"

“It’s real!!”

GOTGM102 Rocket Raccoon75 Points – Starter Set: Again, a lot to love. This version ditches the Improved Movement for better targeting potential (INDISCRIMINATE? NO, INCOMPARABLE: Improved Targeting: Ignores Hindering Terrain, Ignores Characters). He’s Tiny, so he can still be Carried, and his Attack Special (TWO BIG GUNS: Give Rocket Raccoon a power action and he may then make 2 ranged combat attacks as free actions.) is REALLY GOOD if you can Outwit your opponent’s Defense first! His other assets include a 7 Range with two Bolts, top dial Stealth and the fact that he’s one of the only actual Guardians of the Galaxy to have top dial Willpower–that’s actually a difference between a lot of these figures versus they’re starter counterparts. The Starter figs tend to have it where the main set pieces don’t. His keywords are limited–just Animal and GotG–but he can still be a solid Secondary Attacker on the right team. Having said all that, this is the rare case (with this set at least) where the Starter set version is actually worse than the main set versions (of course, that bar is pretty high!). Still, I’d give him this:

GRADE: 3 Oxygen Filtration Masks

 

"Eyes up, Star-Lord."

“Eyes up, Star-Lord.”

GOTGM103 Gamora100/75 Points – Starter Set: Whoa!! There we go! On her first click of life, Gamora can use Charge, Precision Strike, Super Senses and a Special version of Close Combat Mastery that hoses any piece she hits. As I stated above with Rocket Raccoon, not many actual Guardians have Willpower, but Gamora here is rocking Indomitable. Plus, her Trait (DEADLIEST WOMAN IN THE WHOLE GALAXY: Give Gamora a free action and choose an opposing character. When Gamora attacks the chosen character, modify her attack and damage values by +1. Gamora can’t choose again until the chosen character has been KO’d.) potentially bumps her Attack Value to 12 and here Damage value to 4 when she attacks the chosen character! Her 75 Point dial is almost as good; I just prefer the top dial Charge of the 100 Point version  to the Special Movement Power that grants Sidestep (among other things). She’s right up there with the rare Target exclusive Drax the Destroyer, although he was only like 94 Points. I gave that Drax 3 and 3/4 rating, which means I have to give this Gamora:

GRADE: 3 and 1/2 Oxygen Filtration Masks

 

Drax Movie Starter

GOTGM104 Drax the Destroyer 125 Points – Starter Set: Hmmm… this piece is an odd duck. For 31 more points, Starter Drax has a solid 6 Range (up from 3), that same improved-range Pulse Wave Trait that Star-Lord had (HADRON ENFORCER: Once per game, Give Drax the Destroyer a free action and choose an unoccupied square of clear terrain within range and line of fire. When you do, Drax the Destroyer can use Pulse Wave this turn as if he occupied that square.), Indomitable (there’s that again!) and Impervious followed by Invincible instead of just straight Toughness followed by weird pseudo-Stop Clicks. But this Drax also has 1 less click of life, lower Defense (starts with a 17 versus the Mass Market Rare’s 18), slightly lower attack and Super Strength where his counterpart had Precision Strike. The Target-exclusive Drax had a clear role–take out any enemy pieces with Shape Change and/or Super Senses, since he ignores both of those powers. This Drax instead has Exploit Weakness and Close Combat Expert, so his damage dealing potential (if it gets through Super Senses and Shape Change) is a little higher, but not much. I’d personally stick with the Mass Market Rare and spend that extra 31 Points elsewhere.

GRADE: 3 Oxygen Filtration Masks

 

"I... am... West Siiiide!"

“I… am… West Siiiide!”

GOTGM105 Groot100/75 Points – Starter Set: Another support figure, but this version will only cost you up to 100 Points and comes in two great flavors! The first (100 Point version) is rocking an 18 Defense with Invulnerability and the always useful Defend. He’s got Indomitable, so you don’t have to worry about pushing, and he’s also a giant like the main set version. His Movement Special (PHOSPHORESCENT FLOWERS: Lines of fire drawn to opposing characters within 6 squares of Groot ignore hindering terrain.) alternates with Charge (which the Rookie version starts with) and is a great way to open up lines of fire for any snipers on your side who don’t come with Improved Targeting: Ignores Hindering Terrain. Having Experienced Starter Groot Carry his lil’ Raccoon buddy (either the Chase or the Common from the main set) is both movie-accurate and useful, and you’d still have 100 Points left!

His keywords are very narrow (just Brute and Guardians of the Galaxy), but Brute actually opens up a lot of builds (and makes him eligible for Duhg’s Army). I wish he had access to Plasticity or Exploit Weakness at some point to go with his Close Combat Expert or Charge, respectively, but there’s still a lot to like here, and at MUCH more reasonable costs than the main set Rare. GRADE: 4 Oxygen Filtration Masks (100 Point Dial); 3 Oxygen Filtration Masks (75 Point Dial)

 

"I'm told this is my best side."

“I’m told this is my best side.”

GOTGM106 Ronan300/200/100 Points – Starter Set: Like the main set version, Starter Ronan is a high risk/high reward brick who is meant to take up all–or most–of your points. Each version has an Improved Targeting Trait (YOU CANNOT EVADE ME: Improved Targeting: Ignores Hindering Terrain, Ignores Characters), and the Veteran also has 11 clicks of life and a Trait that makes Outwit useless (I WILL NOT BE DENIED: Ronan’s powers can’t be countered.). 10 Range with Running Shot/Pulse Wave top dial (and a 12 Attack Value) means that if you tried to field just Ronan here at, say, a ROC, you won’t be laughed off the table (I still wouldn’t recommend it, since you’ll be hideously out-actioned, but he’s by far NOT the worst figure you could try this with). I wish his damage stayed at 5 beyond top dial, but he comes with an Outwit of his own (again, with 10 Range!) and an 18 Defense with both Impervious AND Energy Shield/Deflection (which is, as mentioned, uncounterable, so the only major fear he has from range is–as always–Pulse Wave).

His Experienced version keeps the 18 Defense with Imperv and ES/D, but only top click, and he loses his move-and-attack power in favor of Flurry. Now, you’ll have an extra 100 Points to play with here, but as Ronan flies, he cannot be carried by most Taxis, which locks you into having to play a TK’er. His damage drops to 4 with Perplex (instead of Outwit), and his starting Attack Value is actually LOWER than the Rookie dial’s.

Rookie Ronan is five clicks of pain. He picks up Charge, an 11 Attack (that goes to 12 on Click 2), a 17 Defense with Invincible and 3 Damage with Close Combat Expert. His last two clicks have a Damage Special that lets him use Regeneration for free. At 100 points, he has a high damage output ceiling if you can get him in close.

GRADE: 4 Oxygen Filtration Masks (300 Point Dial); 3 Oxygen Filtration Masks (200 Point Dial); 3 and 1/2 Oxygen Filtration Masks (1oo Point Dial)

There ya go! I hope you enjoyed this look at the back end of the Guardians of the Galaxy Movie Set. I know I’m pumped for this movie, and I’ll enjoy playing these figures for the next couple years.

I’ll see you guys next time; until then, if you need me, I’ll be here, opening Hearthstone packs… LIKE A BOSS!!